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PS 493G – International Relations Research
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PS 493G – International Relations Research

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  1. PS 493G – International Relations Research • Yes, PS 493 is in this room. Please wait for about 10 minutes while I round up anyone in Oglebey • Syllabus • Texts • Requirements • Resources

  2. Introduction • OK – What is International relations Research – the Course about? • This course is intended to introduce the student to techniques for asking and answering questions about international relations • It is a course on how to conduct research and how to conduct intelligence analysis.

  3. The Dual Nature of Analysis • The analysis of international relations takes on a very dual aspect • From an academic perspective, the analyst seeks to infer general principles about the behavior of the entities and institutions that conduct International relations • The intelligence analyst seeks to examine some aspect of international relations to determine the specific nature of that (those) specific event(s)

  4. For instance • Is upholding the principle of national sovereignty a primary cause of war? Or does material gain alone suffice for nations to wage war? (An academic analysis) • Is the massing of Iraqi troops on the Kuwait border indicative of imminent hostilities? (An intelligence analysis)

  5. The relationship between the two • The intelligence analyst often works on a single specific case, where larger general principles may be at play, but the data collected and the analysis undertaken is directed at the single instance. • The intelligence analyst is often looking at a single data point, while the academic looks at the entire data set. • While the academic wishes to reduce the importance of the idiosyncratic, the intelligence analyst must dwell upon it.

  6. The Research Question • As a result, in any given analysis, there is a question to be answered. • Academic research asks ‘larger’ questions of the “Does X Cause Y?” • Intelligence analysis asks the specific “Will Yi occur because of Xi?

  7. Which type of question? • If the analysts asks enough of the specific questions, inference about the general may be possible. • And if the idiosyncratic is not very important, then knowledge of the general will dictate (or strongly influence) the specific

  8. Analytic Co-existence • These ways of viewing research are not necessarily antithetical. They may co-exist within the same general area of research. • It is concern with the particular question to be asked that dictates the research or analytic orientation of the research • Good intelligence analysis should aid in understanding academic questions, and good academic research (and theory( should aid intelligence analysis.

  9. A simple convention for the course • The academic or intelligence analyst is actually a polarized view of research, but a useful view. • In class I shall speak as if there are oly these two pure types… • The Intelligence analyst is the individual who is hired to answer the question, “Why are those Iraqi troops mobilized on the Kuwaiti border (August, 1990) • The Academic researcher asks, why do nations go to war.

  10. A second distinction • Academic research often starts with some theoretical standpoint and seeks to answer questions that are deduced from that framework • Hypotheses are generated about behavior, and grounded in a theory or perspective. • Sometimes the hypothesis is arrived at before the theoretical grounding is provided.

  11. The generation of Intelligence hypotheses • Intelligence analysis is often “unguided by theory” • While we might have a perspective for some issues, often we are seeking answers for questions we do not yet know how to formulate. • The research question can arise out of the flow of the data. • And when the data is not there – important questions get missed!

  12. The Research Process • The academic research process

  13. The Intelligence Process • The Intelligence process is not guided from the top down. • It starts from a generalized need to divide information (data) into two groups • Useful • Not Useful • It needs to know Who, What, When, Where, and Why (And How Much..) • And it often must start without knowing any of these basic interrogatives

  14. Intelligence is policy support • Intelligence is conduced as support for policy • The topics to be researched are determined by the degree of relevance for the policy arena. • Turf becomes very important. All knowledge is useful • Collecting and analyzing what is useful or relevant becomes a function of the sponsoring agency’s turf (purview, mission)

  15. Ongoing Process • The academic process is often a discrete iteration of it’s cycle. • The intelligence process is a continuous loop • And that look must cast a broad net of relevance.

  16. Relevant variables • The cases and variables required for Academic research are determined by the question to be answered. • The entities to be examined and the variables to be examined are often not even known to the analyst, but emerge out of the process.

  17. Order out of Chaos • The intelligence process must cast a wide net of data in order to support its policy mission • Data from a wide variety of subjects, and entities must be collected and examine to see if there is a matter of concern for the policy arena of the analyst. • The analyst must take a chaotic barrage of data and see patterns and behaviors in it.

  18. The Intelligence Process

  19. A Client centered Model • Client • Data Collection • Collation – Organization • Iterative process • Analysis • Client Iteration – • redefinition • Refinement • Analytic Product

  20. The Client • The client provides the general problem • It may be a policy issue • It may be a specific threat assessment

  21. Cognition • The Mind is a functioning organ that produces cognition or thinking • Thinking seems to be a set of processes • Perception • Memory • Reasoning • There are very real limits on these skills/capacities

  22. Perception • We tend to perceive what we expect to perceive. • A corollary of this principle is that it takes more information, and more unambiguous information, to recognize an unexpected phenomenon than an expected on. • (Heuer, • What did you see when you looked at Figure 1?

  23. Perception and Complex Systems

  24. Mind-sets • A mind-set is an expected pattern • They are both necessary and problematic • A mind set is a lens or perceptual filter that classifies perceptions efficiently for rapid cognition. • As a result, when information lies outside the bounds of the mind-set, one of three things happens: • It is misinterpreted • It is discarded • It bogs down the cognitive process

  25. Cognitive Dissonance • Cognitive Dissonance is routinely encountered in thinking • It is when information counter to the beliefs or expectations of the perceiver is is encountered, it is either discarded, ignored or treated as false.

  26. Data mining

  27. Strategic Thinking • Much of International Relations Analysis requires understanding the decision making that actors engage in. • We have looked at some cognitive factors that help explain how perceptions are used and interpreted. • We also need to look at how decisions are made, based upon the perceptual basis that actors have. • In short, how do actors think strategically.

  28. Approaches to Strategic Thinking • We can look at strategy and tactics from an informal logical and analytic approach (Your Book) • We can examine strategic reasoning in a formal or mathematical manner (Game theory) • We will start with the more complex, game theory, to give you a basis to see that the more informal methods will also have formal representations.

  29. Game Theory • Game theory was developed by John Von Neumann and Oscar Morgenstern in 1944 - • Economists! • One of the fundamental principles of game theory, the idea of equilibrium strategies was developed by John F. Nash, Jr. (A Beautiful Mind), a Bluefield, WV native. • Game theory is a way of looking at a whole range of human behaviors as a game.

  30. Components of a Game • Games have the following characteristics: • Players • Rules • Payoffs • Strategies

  31. Types of Games • We classify games into several types. • By the number of players: • By the Rules: • By the Payoff Structure:

  32. Games as Defined by the number of players: • 1-person (or game against nature) • 2-person • n-person( 3-person & up)

  33. Games as Defined by the Rules: • These determine the number of options/alternatives in the play of the game. • The payoff matrix has a structure (independent of value) that is a function of the rules of the game. • Thus many games have a 2x2 structure due to 2 alternatives for each player.

  34. Games as Defined by the Payoff Structure: • Zero-sum • Non-zero sum • (and occasionally Constant sum) • Examples: • Zero-sum • Classic games: Chess, checkers, tennis, poker. • Political Games: Elections, War • Non-zero sum • Classic games: Football (?), D&D, Video games • Political Games: Policy Process

  35. Strategies • We also classify the strategies that we employ: • It is natural to suppose that one player will attempt to anticipate what the other player will do. Hence • Minimax - to minimize the maximum loss - a defensive strategy • Maximin - to maximize the minimum gain - an offensive strategy.

  36. Iterated Play • Games can also have sequential play which lends to more complex strategies. • (Tit-for-tat - always respond in kind. • Tat-for-tit - always respond conflictually to cooperation and cooperatively towards conflict.

  37. Game or Nash Equilibria • Games also often have solutions or equilibrium points. • These are outcomes which, owing to the selection of particular reasonable strategies will result in a determined outcomes. • An equilibrium is that point where it is not to either players advantage to unilaterally change his or her mind.

  38. Saddle points • The Nash equilibrium is also called a saddle point because of the two curves used to construct it: • an upward arching Maximin gain curve • and a downward arc for minimum loss. • Draw in 3-d, this has the general shape of a western saddle (or the shape of the universe; and if you prefer). .

  39. Some Simple Examples • Battle of the Bismark Sea • Prisoner’s Dilemma • Chicken

  40. The Battle of the Bismarck Sea • Simple 2x2 Game • US WWII Battle

  41. The Battle of the Bismarck Sea